Our man’s verdict on who should stay – or go – at Crystal Palace this summer

Photo by PA

Crystal Palace are still on course for Premier League survival despite their battering at Arsenal last weekend – and that means some big calls on the futures of a number of first-team players.

The Eagles have 10 of their squad inside the final six months of their contracts in SE25. Relegation would see an exodus, but the South London’s clubs prospects are still positive about making it a sixth straight season in the top flight.

Here SAM SMITH gives his verdict on who should stay – and who needs to go.


2017-18 games: 18. Goals: 6

The former Wolves winger’s relatively low-key time in South London has suddenly sparked into life under Roy Hodgson. Sako has netted six times this season – four in his last eight appearances – after scoring just twice in the two prior campaign he has been at the club. The Malian is believed to be on high wages but is worth keeping around as an extra forward option.



2017-18 games: 23. Goals: 0

The injured Frenchman was a summer target for Marseille and could yet agree a deal in principle with a foreign club this month due to his deal expiring in the summer. However, that is unlikely and Cabaye still has a major role to play at Palace. He is the Eagles’ most creative midfielder and the Eagles are markedly better with him in the side.



Photo by Daniel Hambury/PA Wire.

2017-18 games: 21. Goals: 5

Palace’s joint Premier League top-scorer has played a key role since returning from injury early in the season. Perhaps one of the better players under Frank de Boer due to his versatility, this attribute has seen him play in both wide midfield positions and in the centre this season which is beneficial to a small squad. The Scot has also scored important goals this season and has a part to play in the future, although if that area is significantly strengthened then it may not be one he will like.



2017-18 games: 6. Goals: 0

At times a forgotten man at Palace. The midfielder has made just three appearances under Hodgson, twice in under-strength League Cup teams before a cameo against Manchester City. Lee has struggled to hold down a regular place at Palace and as a result has seriously struggled for form. The South Korean could finally be moved on when his contract expires.


Crystal Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni – Photo by PA


2017-18 games: 13. Clean sheets: 3

The fans’ favourite earned his place back in the Palace team earlier this season after failing to appear in a Premier League game since May 2016. Speroni has generally done well but made an error in the 2-2 draw with Everton which has led to him being dropped in place of Wayne Hennessey. Still largely dependable when called upon, Speroni should deputise for a younger, more commanding goalkeeper next season.



2017-18 games: 15. Clean sheets: 3

Hennessey has never truly won over the Palace fans – much of that due to him not being Speroni – but he is also prone to the occasional error. An excellent performance against Manchester City has earned him his place back in the Palace side but the club are likely to target a top-quality goalkeeper in the summer.



2017-18 games: 2. Goals: 0

Ladapo’s only two appearances this season came in September and October and were due to the desperation of Palace’s only other fit striker being the then-unfancied Sako. With Benteke fit, Sako scoring and another striker possibly signing, Ladapo will find himself nowhere near the Eagles’ first team for the foreseeable future. He turns 25 in February and needs to start gaining regular game time.



2017-18 games: 13. Goals: 0

The former Liverpool defender splits opinion like marmite. Kelly struggled at full-back under Alan Pardew but has been dependable in a centre-back role under Hodgson and formerly Sam Allardyce. A good professional who is always patient to earn a chance, Kelly is worth keeping around with Palace hardly possessing vast defensive cover.



2017-18 games: 15. Goals: 0

Ward appeared to be on his way out of Palace under de Boer and struggled badly at wing-back in the Dutchman’s 3-5-2 system. He has since gone on to have a good season under Hodgson but there is always a sense that the Eagles could easily upgrade at right-back. Could get a move to another Premier League club, but that’s likely to only be as a back-up. He is the third longest-serving player at the club – behind Julian Speroni and Jonny Williams.



2017-18 games: 3. Goals: 0

The Irishman has found himself in the stands more often than in matchday squads this season. The 36-year-old was once a trusted and almost ever-present member of Palace’s back four but will most likely find himself released in the summer having only featured three times. Will leave as a fans’ favourite having played a key part in one of the club’s most successful-ever periods.


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